Days before Ohio took over Indiana last month, Josh Myers of Center Buckies gave a detailed account of what his new routine has become this season: Wake up, go to the soccer field, log in for the zoom class, do the coronavirus test, finish the class, get ready for meetings, practice, eat and go home.
On weekdays there are no holes, no trips to the grocery store, no place other than his house and the place where he eats three times a day – socially distributed of course. Meyers also praised the time Ohio coaches and medical staff spent on minutes – remote team and position group meetings and avoiding groups of players around each other during training.
The goal, of course, is to be as safe as possible so that Buckeyes has a chance to fight for the national championship.
I can’t imagine a worse situation than being undefeated and cancelling matches on such a scale that we can’t go to a conference championship because we haven’t played enough football, Myers said at the time. It would be a living nightmare.
Just three weeks after his conversation with ESPN, Meyers was one of 23 players who were unable to play against the state of Michigan after problems with the coronavirus spread throughout the program. Buckeye’s coach Ryan Day tested the positive results and observed them from his home. Although Ohio hasn’t released any positive results or quarantine contact information about its players – or how the outbreak started – what has happened in Columbus follows numerous programs across the country since the start of the season in September.
Even the best plans and protocols can be useless against such a ruthless virus. With two games already cancelled and the game being broadcast this weekend in Michigan, Ohio, the sense of urgency is growing. The next game could be a Big Ten championship game and a place in the play-offs for College Football club.
However, with game cancellations, the recent withdrawal of players and the entry of college football in its most critical period of four weeks, a huge increase of Covid 19 cases in the United States is testing the idea that the season could continue as planned with a national championship game on December 11. January in Miami.
Hopefully the remaining bowling matches will be played and the national champion will be crowned. The key word, of course, is hope. After all, at this time of year there are simply no guarantees – and nothing has changed since August.
2020 is the year in which you can’t get everything you want, and you have to find a way to get it, said Miami coach Manny Diaz, whose ten-seater Hurricanes were unable to play for two weeks due to their own coronavirus problems. I don’t care if you’re undefeated and take first place or even win a race. It’s been a tough year.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Boston College coach Jeff Haffley estimates that his football program has taken more than 8,000 COVID-19 tests since his return in July and has had only one positive result since then. Anthony Garro Football/Boston College
Playing school football in the midst of a pandemic has turned out to be a dirty, fragmented, puzzling and heartbreaking activity. Although the administrators predicted that this would be an exhausting slogan with stops, starts and, yes, refusals, coaches and players only got a glimpse of what is really needed to play after practice has started. Interviews with coaches and players from many conferences and geographical regions show the different ways they have tried to make the season as safe as possible in their programs.
For example, players may ask not to go home to visit family members, stay in the city during open dates, restrict communication with people outside the football programme, avoid large meetings, always wear a mask and, in rare cases, stay in a hotel room throughout the season or completely change states to play football.
All this during coronavirus testing three times a week on a daily basis – and isolation for 10 days in case of a positive result or quarantine for only 14 days due to the recommendation to quarantine the contact mark. Coaches have detailed examples of players who were repeatedly followed during contact, leaving them alone for 28 days or more. There have also been cases of false alarm, including one that cost Stanford quarterback Davis Mills the game against Oregon.
According to Diaz, players are not allowed to decide what is and what is not a coronavirus, which explains the division of the country. They have to be perfect, and from June they have to be perfect to maintain health and keep the virus as far away from the building as possible. It’s not something you can be good at in any way.
In some cases the programmes have been more than successful. In other cases, a number of months ended with a nil result in November and December. In all cases, the work in question was physically demanding and morally exhausting, and put all members of the programme under pressure because critics asked if it was worth playing first.
Those who have come this far say yes.
That’s what the players wanted, Diaz said. I still believe that the turning point of 2020 was a day off in August. It looked like we were nervous, and the players got up and said they wanted to play. They deserve all kinds of praise, so for me, whatever it takes to finish the season, they deserve it.
Not all players have gone through the season, as many have left the season before or after the start. Those who have already played or refused to play, but intend to return to university football, will be given an extra year to qualify. Whatever the choice, everyone still faces challenges.
Boston College coach Jeff Hafley estimates that the Eagles have completed more than 8,000 tests since their return in July and only had one positive test. It happened in the last week of the regular season. Last Saturday only Boston College, Syracuse and NC State completed their programs. Haffley said he called the coaches and asked what BC had done to avoid the cases. In her assessment, this starts with campus protocols that emphasize wearing masks and warn of severe penalties for home parties or other violations of the protocol.
Fault! The file name is not specified. One of the many precautions that have been taken in some football programs this season is to ask players not to go home for Thanksgiving. Among other things, the SBU organized a festive dinner at the training camp for the players while they watched the game in Detroit Lyons. Thanks, SMU.
But the Eagles were also very strict in other respects. Here are two examples: Players with symptoms were isolated from the team and had to undergo additional testing before coming back. In cases where family members were able to attend the street games, players were asked not to hug or touch them. The only positive case is of a player who went home for Thanksgiving. He stays at home, isolated with his family.
Imagine not being able to kiss mom, dad, brother, sister after the game. Do you want to talk about the victims? Haffley said. Those kids did it. We didn’t know if we were going to play our first game, so we looked around and everything kept getting cancelled, and somehow our guys found a way. Is it a matter of luck? Yeah, you should be lucky. But it is also these children who have to listen to every little thing we say to them. I don’t know how many people could have done that.
At SMU, coach Sonny Dykes has carefully planned the entire August schedule, trying to fill something for the players six days a week, between weightlifting, air conditioning and training. It was his way of keeping them sharp so that they wouldn’t be tempted to leave the city and visit family and friends in the city. In the team hotel, for both the home and away games, the players slept one by one in their room, all dishes were packed in boxes and delivered to them.
On Thanksgiving day, they set up picnic tables that stretch 70 meters in the lobby hall: Two people sat at a six-foot table while they ate and watched a Detroit Lions soccer game. But Dykes could see how the refinement of the team’s performance against South Carolina would affect the team’s poor performance.
It’s just that we were so emotionally exhausted that it was hard for our boys to get up and play, he said.
Only three players were tested at SMU throughout the season. However, his game against Houston on Saturday, which had already been postponed due to coronavirus problems in the Puma’s, was cancelled after the staff tested positive – and as a result, too many players were taken out of the game by the quarantine to play.
I can’t believe we went this far and this happened, Dykes. Every day… You don’t know what’s gonna happen.
This is especially true for a school like Florida. Last month, Clemenson learned that he had tested positive in the players’ test after coming to Tallahassee to play a game against the Seminoles. The doctors of both teams could not agree on the continuation of the forward game, which was therefore cancelled a few hours before the game. Then Seminole’s coach Mike Norval said the last positive moment of the program in Florida was his in September.
But after a week, everything changed. Positive tests under the Florida program led to the cancellation of the second consecutive game on match day. At 2-6, with only 44 players due to coronavirus protocols, injuries or denials, the Seminoles could have missed the season. Instead, they wanted to keep playing, so the CCA changed the game plan and gave them two finals.
It’s a chance to play soccer, said Jordan Travis, Florida state quarterback. We have to improve in the future and we have to focus on the next two races and try to win and go in with a positive prospect. It’s all a lesson in learning. I hope we never have to go through something like this again.
Norval, who was sensitive to the issue after coach Clemson Dabo Piggy accused the Seminoles of avoiding them, said: I know there’s a lot of talk about the prospects of the teams in the country. These guys are competitors, and we’re a young football team. We need all the representation we can get. If you take that away from them, it’s emotional. We want to play.
The teams will then have to go to the training field to go to Saturday, starting with training and ending with what will happen if some players are unable to train because of coronavirus problems. Diaz said Miami coaches trained with the scout team because they were short of players.
When the ball starts, everyone wants the sport to be the way we want it to be, Diaz said. From Sunday to Friday we have a lot of problems to get this far. I told the players that when you come out of the tunnel, you don’t hold a sign in your hand: I covered the kicker all week and pretended to be a wide receiver. Nobody cares. They just want you to cover for the guy. So they deserve a lot of praise for that.
As the University Football Qualifications Committee remains steadfast, it will announce its final ranking on 20 November. December. There are unforeseen circumstances when the games for the congress title are cancelled due to problems with coronaviruses. But there are still questions about the cup season in general and the playoff games in particular, when some teams are unable to play.
It’s a long road, but as long as there are football play-offs in college, I’m not going to complain, Myers said.
Most of the season was based on the hope that everything would be all right. But now that we are in the last month and approaching the championship race, we have to do more than just hope to bring the season to the finish line.
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